You know how something you've seen can be nasty, disturbing, whacked out, or just plain icky that it's inexorably burned into your brain? And you think, "Oh well, give it some time and the memory will fade." But of course, it doesn't.
On any given day, I can't remember where I left my car keys or who I promised to call. But these images are still unshakably lodged in my cranium. Hell, I'll probably forget the names of my children before some of these movie scenes slip from my mind. ;-)
Anyhoo ... I haven't actually written any reviews lately (happily, my co-blogger, Sarah, has been picking up the slack), and I thought this would be a fun post. The idea popped into my head while visiting one of my favorite bloggers and was partially inspired by Nikki's "Most Disturbing Films."
10. The Opening Masturbation Scene (Buddy Boy)
This scene isn't exactly disturbing -- the masturbation isn't even graphic. But there's something about it that's pretty skeevy. I don't know whether it's the fact that the very first time we meet Francis, he's having some Special Private Time. More likely it's this character's glaring lack of personal hygiene. Or the fact that the filmmaker immerses us in his world of frustrating yearning and religious guilt by interspersing shots of him wanking with bits of religious imagery. I'm not a particularly religious person, but at a moment like that, I really don't want to look at the Holy Mother.
O.K. -- it's probably a combination of all the above. For whatever reason, I have been trying to forget this scene ever since I saw the movie. Alas, it's to no avail.
9. Giving Mummy Her Medications (The Living & the Dead)
There are many unsettling things about this movie. The images of decaying aristocracy in a crumbling mansion. The mentally unbalanced man-child who acts like Tigger on crack. The hallucination scenes. The frenzied, jumpy editing. But the hardest part for me to watch was a manic, psychotic James -- in the process of rapidly decompensating -- aggressively force-feeding medication to his seriously ill mother.
Note to self: I must make an effort to be nicer to my children. Obviously, putting me in a crappy nursing home isn't the worst possible fate they could cook up for me.
8. The Woman in Room 237 (The Shining)
You're in a hotel that has been vacant all winter. You're told someone lurking in Room 237 tried to strangle your child. So you go up to investigate. Next thing you know, a very hot, naked wet lady walks out of the bathroom, and -- lo and behold -- she seems to fancy you. What do you do? Apparently, you just throw caution to the wind and start gleefully making out with her. Of course, in his defense, it had already been well established that Jack Torrence is a few crayons short of a full box. And far more prudent men than he have been known to have lapses in judgment when faced with wet, naked breasts.
I just love this screenshot. Here you see Jack -- whose already questionable sanity has been crumbling for the first half of the movie -- casually catching a glimpse of himself and the nubile interloper in the mirror. Huh? What? Something's starting to go badly wrong here ...
If you don't know what he sees next, you can Google it ("Shining woman in bathtub"). Maybe you won't be stuck with the image as long as I have been. Suffice it to say this movie did more to put people off hotel bathrooms that Psycho ever did.
7. The "Ass to Ass" Scene (Requiem for a Dream)
How far might a young woman in an advanced stage of addiction to heroin go to scrape together money for drugs?
'Nuff said. If you've seen the movie, you remember the scene. If you haven't, you may not thank me for describing it. And if you feel compelled by lurid curiosity, I have no doubt somebody's posted it on YouTube.
This is probably Jennifer Connelly's most memorable role. Just looking at her, in this scene, is agony.
6. Death of Children (Jude)
In case you haven't seen this film, or read Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, I won't spoil it, except to say you catch a glimpse of dead children. I can handle all kind of gratuitous cinematic misery as long as it doesn't involve children or animals. Then all bets are off.
This is definitely a worthwhile movie, and one that deserves a wider viewing. But Thomas Hardy didn't carve out his literary niche reflecting the joyful side of human existence. It's a tough film.
And yes, that's a pre-TARDIS Christopher Eccleston up there, and he gives a brilliant performance here.
5. The Worst Toilet in Scotland (Trainspotting)
The scene is strange, disgusting, surreal, and powerful. And as a young man dives into a filthy toilet to retrieve his precious cache of heroin, it makes an indelible statement about where addiction will take you. Of course that's not the worst part of the journey. Not by a long shot.
In case you need any persuading, this film will definitely put you off heroin abuse. And public toilets.
4. The Curb Stomp (American History X)
The thing I love most about this movie is that it takes a thoroughly repulsive, unredeemable character and has you pity him, then root for him.
I won't describe this scene -- everyone who's ever seen this film needed therapy to purge it from their minds. Suffice it to say, I don't know which is more disturbing, the heinous act of violence to which we bear witness or the perpetrator's smugly gleeful reaction.
3. The Scalping and Flaying (Red, White & Blue)
The scene description speaks for itself. This movie exceeded my fuckedupness threshold, and I'm in no hurry to sit through it again. However, it's a worthwhile film, especially for Noah Taylor's engrossing performance as a calculating sociopath.
2. The Baby (Trainspotting)
Probably the most devastating aspect of addiction is the guilt and regret carried by parents whose substance abuse has cause them to harm or neglect their children. This scene will stick with me until the day I die.
1. The Dog Killings (Tyrannosaur)
There are many things I admire about this film -- I can see why Sarah is a tremendous fan of director Paddy Considine. Not the least of them is its ability to take an emotionally unstable, destructive man, who most of us would be inclined to loathe or dismiss, and have us connect to his human side. What can I say? I really dig social realism.
But I will Never. Sit. Through. This. Movie. Again. I can take everything in it but the brutal dog killings. Don't kill children and dogs ... that's all I'm sayin' Is that too much to ask?
The Whole Damn Movie (Dead Alive)
I know my esteemed co-blogger, my husband, and my friend m. brown are fans of this movie. But
early on, this movie exceeded my threshold for camp, and it just kept
going. There was something about all the gratuitous, campy gore that
made me want to gouge my eyes out. Meanwhile, everyone else in the room
was laughing their asses off. Oh well -- to each his own.
That Requiem scene was terrible indeed, Connelly was just amazing in this movie.ReplyDelete
Noah Taylor is actually going to be in Game of Thrones 3! Playing a sociopath too :)
Noah Taylor in the next season of GoT? That's the best news I've heard all day! :-)Delete
There he is in "War" preview - http://24.media.tumblr.com/1d69e1424cf3523d1c4947249ede687c/tumblr_mjqbllR3h91r9h4heo1_500.jpg :)Delete
Pretty much the whole last half of Requiem for a Dream does it for me. Funnily enough it was around THAT scene that I had to turn off last time I tried to watch it. I watched a French horror called Inside which I will never forget. Absolutely horrific. I can take dead dogs and children but for me, pregnant women should NEVER EVER be in horror films. Oh and Irreversible was beyond horrible too.ReplyDelete
I know what you mean -- I was yelling at the screen throughout much of Requiem for a Dream ... "Dude! Your arm is seriously infected. SHIT! He's going to lose that arm!"Delete
I've never heard of Inside. Good point about pregnant women though!
Ohh gruesome picks! I can't stand dog death either, but I have to admit that final scene in Tyrannosaur where he's sitting there with that dog's head and the "bitch, please." look on his face was kind of brilliant.ReplyDelete
Trainspotting and Requiem for a Dream, great films, but so hard to watch. As was that scene in Red, White, and Blue. That and the one where he ties up the family and asks the litter girl if she's rather live without her parents or die with them. So disturbing!
Yes that scene was kind of brilliant, in an utterly fucked up way. :-) But I'm in no hurry to see it again. Same for Red, White & Blue. I've often wondered how that little girl's parents felt about letting her take a role in that movie!Delete
This list is fantastic. Of the ones I have actually seen (8,7,5,4 and 2), the curb stomp is the probably the worst. I love the double-dipping for Trainspotting, as that is one of my favorite movies ever. I find the toilet scene equal parts hilarious and disgusting. The baby scene? I guess I consider myself lucky that that baby looked so fake...or else, I might I have soiled myself.ReplyDelete
Von Trier's Antichrist would literally fill 8 of these slots for me. Maybe 9.
Alas, I won't watch Antichrist because you have me terrified that my T.V. would freaking explode. :-)Delete
Thanks for your kind words. I figured double-dipping in Trainspotting was a must. I agree that the toilet scene was as hilarious as it was disturbing.
One word. "Irreversible" That movie gave me nightmares for several nights. Ugh I can still hear the sounds even without discribing the scene from "American History X"ReplyDelete
Oy! I know what you mean about American History X. I've heard Irreversible is a worthwhile film, but I am too much of a coward to watch it. Considering I am already prone to particularly vivid, disturbing nightmares, that's probably a good thing.Delete
Very nice list. Some I haven't seen but can't argue with Trainspotting, Requiem for a dream and especially Red, White & Blue. Took me ages to get the latter out of my head.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Mark! I couldn't agree more about Red, White & Blue. :)Delete
I was at a house party once, and someone told me that the upstairs toilet was like "The Worst Toilet in Scotland". Bleugh haha!ReplyDelete
That's hilarious. :-) And what were you doing at my house? *LOL*Delete
Aw, poor Francis :( all he has to do is beat off and he gets put on a list with dog killing, dead babies and curb stomping. "Tyrannosaur" was extremely disturbing and honestly one of the best movies I've ever seen... Paddy Considine can DIRECT as well as ACT!ReplyDelete
Shane Meadows movies have some disturbing moments as well, espacially "Dead Man's Shoes" and the scene from "Audition" with the slicing and the sawing is one of the grossest things I've seen.
Ha ha! I know, it does seem incongruous. But there's just something skeevy about that scene that I haven't been able to push out of my mind. In all fairness, I haven't seen as many disturbing movies as you, so it's more difficult to fill all the slots. :-PDelete
This is a GREAT list, and I could not agree more with your choices. Tyrannosaur... (sigh). That was a tough, tough movie for me to appreciate. That opening dog-killing scene is just awful, but it does force Joseph to finally start examining his life. But still, I too will be happy to never watch that one again.ReplyDelete
I appreciated that movie a lot -- especially the way Joseph's character was allowed to develop in a way that was within the bounds of being realistic and believable. But it was a VERY tough movie for me. I'll never watch it again.Delete
I've only seen the ones from The Shining, Requiem for a Dream, American History X, Trainspotting and Tyrannosaur, but I completely agree with you on those picks. Very disturbing scenes that I wish I could forget. Of course, I wish I could forget a lot of Requiem for a Dream, especially the image of Jared Leto's infected vein.ReplyDelete
I couldn't agree more about Jared Leto's infected vein. :-) I was actually yelling at the screen at that point. "Get to a hospital, Man! Holy shit! You're going to end up losing that arm!"Delete